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Andy has serious problems.
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Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938) is the fourth film in the Andy Hardy movies that ran for 15 films from 1937 to 1946, with a 16th in 1958. It was directed by George B. Seitz, and it stars Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and Lana Turner.

This edition sees young Andy confronted with all sorts of serious problems, namely that he wants to buy a used car for $20 but he only has $12, and he really needs the car before the Christmas Eve dance, and even worse, his steady girlfriend Polly is leaving to visit family for Christmas, depriving Andy of a date for the dance. Seemingly both problems are solved at once when Andy's friend Beezy, who is also being summoned away to visit family for the holidays, asks Andy to court his girlfriend Cynthia (Turner), with Beezy willing to pay Andy $8, just to stop any other boy from swooping up Cynthia. Andy is pretty happy about courting luscious Cynthia while earning the money for his car—but his plans are ruined when Beezy sends him a letter stating that Beezy has found another girl and the deal is off. Worse, Polly is allowed to come home early and join Andy for the dance, which leaves him with two girls and no car. The situation is further complicated when another girl, Betsy Booth (Garland), who is visiting for the holidays, also falls for Andy.

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Love Finds Andy Hardy was the movie where the Andy Hardy series started to come together after quite a bit of Early Installment Weirdness in the first three films. Specifically, this was the first film in the series to put the character of Andy front and center, with his name in the title. It helped propel Mickey Rooney to super-stardom. This particular installment was one of the first big roles for rising star Lana Turner.


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Tropes:

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Andy would never have stepped out on Polly if she'd stayed in town, but Polly's absence for the holiday makes it only too easy for him to fall for Cynthia.
  • Bad to the Last Drop: Older sister Marian, charged with fixing the meals when mother Emily is away tending to her own ill mother, makes atrocious coffee. Andy and the judge, seeking not to hurt her feelings, pronounce it excellent. This almost causes the new cook to quit when she comes to work, tries Marian's coffee, and pronounces it "mud."
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: At the beginning, Polly is hesitant to let Andy kiss her, saying "Really, l think we're getting much too old for that sort of thing, hugging and kissing." At the end, having been made jealous by Betsy, Polly lays a long kiss on Andy.
  • Betty and Veronica: Polly and Cynthia. Polly is Andy's innocent sweetheart while Cynthia is more sensual. Judge Hardy is startled when Andy asks if it's possible to be in love with two women at once.
  • Breakout Character: As noted above, while the first three films concentrated on the whole Hardy family, this was the one where Andy broke out as the star of the series.
  • Christmas Episode: This installment of the series takes place over Christmas holidays.
  • Dances and Balls: Much of the plot is driven by Andy trying to get a date for the dance. At the dance, Betsy sings two songs.
  • Driving a Desk: On the way to the dance.
  • Everytown, America: Andy's hometown of Carvel, somewhere in Middle America, where everyone is healthy and happy and white and the biggest problem is who to take to the dance.
  • Fiery Redhead: Multiple comments on Cynthia's red hair. Cynthia is apparently hornier than your average Carvel teen, and she dumps Andy like a hot potato when she sees The Alleged Car that he just bought (not really his car, but a trick by Betsy).
  • First Girl Wins: Polly and Andy get back together in the end.
  • Grammar Nazi: Among other things, Judge Hardy always corrects Andy when the latter refers to dollars as "bucks."
  • Happily Married: Judge and Mrs. Hardy are perfectly happy.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Andy and Polly, together forever, even if Lana Turner does sometimes wander into town.
  • "I Am" Song: Betsy sings a song called "In Between" about how she's too old for dolls and toys but too young to attract boys like Andy.
  • Oblivious to Love: Andy never does figure out that Betsy is crazy about him.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Andy gets a telegram saying Polly will be able to make it to the party and when he found out his friend wouldn't be giving him the eight dollars.
  • Really Gets Around: Andy is a little stumped with Cynthia at first, since she doesn't like to go swimming or go for walks. Eventually he finds out what Cynthia does like—"hugging and kissing." Andy, a hopelessly innocent boy from Everytown, America, is a little bit discomfited by this, apparently finding the fact that Lana Turner is all over him to be troublesome.
    "Do you think it's wrong for a guy not to want a girl kissing him all the time?"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Judge Hardy is a well-meaning sort who gives Solomonic judgments from the bench. When a 12-year-old boy is brought to the court for joyriding with and damaging a neighbor's tractor, Judge Hardy sentences the boy to work for the neighbor until the debt is paid.
  • Serious Business: Among the major problems bothering the people of Carvel are not having a date for the dance and not being able to pay for a radio.
  • Work Off the Debt: How Judge Hardy punishes a boy for stealing a tractor (see Reasonable Authority Figure above).
  • Your Cheating Heart: Andy goes out with Cynthia while Polly is away.
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